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John Passant

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February 2013



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Protests against far right politician a success

No room for racism anywhere

Visiting far right politician Geert Wilders has been met with lively protests at his first speaking engagement in Australia writes Louise O’Shea in Socialist Alternative. Over 100 people gathered in a far outer suburb of Melbourne to picket his meeting and protest his message of hate.

Before the event even began the protesters had scored a victory, with Wilders being unable to secure a venue in the Melbourne CBD to extol his anti-Muslim prejudices. Fear of protests and concern about his extreme views had led to a number of venues cancelling his booking.

Wilders advocates banning all migration to the West from Muslim countries, immediate deportation of Muslims who break Western laws, extra taxes for Muslims who observe religious customs, a ban on the construction of mosques, and the introduction of Israeli-style administrative detention for any Muslim terror suspect. He declares openly that he “hates Islam”.

The aim of the protest was to express opposition to Wilders’ views, raise awareness about the threat posed by the far right and to show solidarity with Muslims and immigrants whose rights, well-being and safety are threatened by Wilders’ message of hate. A range of left-wing organisations, pro-Palestine groups, Muslims and anti-racist activists came together to make the protest loud and lively, and attendance at the meeting somewhat humiliating for the few bigots that did turn up.

Some however, including multicultural and Islamic groups, have argued that the best response to Wilders’ visit is to ignore it, and that protests just give publicity to what would otherwise be marginal ideas and a crackpot political figure.

The problem with this argument is that the views propagated by Wilders and his ilk too often are not simply confined to the margins, but actually find reflection in mainstream political parties and policies. After all, what Wilders argues is in large part simply a more exaggerated version of the ideas that have been promoted by Western governments since the advent of the War on Terror – the idea that Muslims are inclined towards terrorism, Muslim culture is incompatible with that of the West and that Muslims are a threat to ‘our way of life’. These ideas have been central to legitimising and winning support for the invasion and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, attacks on civil liberties at home, and support for Israel’s numerous attacks on the Palestinians. More specifically, several European countries have now outlawed the wearing of the burqa, and the hijab in certain public institutions. Similar proposals have been raised in Australia.

By pushing the boundaries of racism, figures like Wilders drag the middle ground further to the right, which means the mainstream parties can adopt more racist policies while still appearing to oppose ‘extremism’. This is why despite a lot of huffing and puffing against Pauline Hanson by John Howard, the Liberal Party ultimately adopted many of her policies over time.

It is therefore essential that figures like Wilders are confronted and opposition made public. Silence on our side only helps to normalize Wilders’ ideas and allow them room to gain respectability.

Those who want to defend Wilders argue that such protests are an attack on free speech. But the aim of the protests was not to prevent Wilders speaking. It was rather to attempt to make anti-racist voices heard through exercising the democratic right to protest. It was an attempt to give those continually vilified and attacked by the mainstream media, shockjocks and politicians a voice to defend their rights, safety and communities. And an attempt to demonstrate that there are people prepared to speak out against racism in the broader community.

As such, the announcement on the rally that Wilders had been forced to cancel his Perth appearance was a cause for celebration amongst the protesters. Lack of interest in his message and reluctance on the part of venues to host him indicates that the anti-racist message is getting out. It is a victory for Muslims and anti-racists everywhere. Protesting has helped relegate Wilders to the speaking tour wilderness, so let there be more of it.

Like all posts on this blog, comments (see the link under the heading) close after 7 days.



Comment from Kamala Emanuel
Time February 21, 2013 at 2:05 am

Geert Wilders is wrong. Europe is not in the the grip of a crisis of Islamic migration. The crisis confronting Europe is a crisis of capitalism – of out-of-control greedy bankers crashing the economy and getting bailed out by their lackey pro-captialist parties and governments, followed by austerity, unemployment, wage cuts, pension cuts, as the governments turn to workers, women, the poor, students – and say, oops, there’s no money left: you’ll have to pay for the bankers’ bail-outs. If the Q society had wanted to do something useful, they’d have toured someone from, I don’t know, Iceland, or one of the South American countries like Ecuador – which weathered the crisis by taking control of the banks. See I’d rather see a public discussion of a proposal to bring the mines and banks into public ownership and running them for people not profit, than go down a dead-end road of racist scapegoating and religious bigotry.

Comment from Kay
Time February 21, 2013 at 5:57 am

I thought this was a country where freedom of speech prevailed – freedom for Geert Wilders to put forward his ideas, and freedom for those who disagree to peacefully protest. I do hope the venues that cancelled Geert Wilders’ talk did so because of lack of interest, and not because the host venues were afraid of being damaged by out-of-control protesters.

I fully support the right of anyone to state their views as long as they are not inciting violence (and Geert Wilders certainly does not incite violence). And I fully support the right of those who disagree to PEACEFULLY protest.

Comment from Greg Norman
Time February 21, 2013 at 7:40 am

Whether one agrees or disagrees with a view one should support the right of someone, however ill informed to express it. e.g. I support your right to maintain this blog.

Comment from John
Time February 21, 2013 at 10:27 am

Protesting against racists is not denying anyone their ‘right’ to free speech. It is exercising it. Of course Wilders’ incites violence. That is the whole point of his far right agenda. Let’s cut to the chase. Would you support someone like Hitler having a ‘right’ to free speech. Of course protesting against racists is not denying anyone their ‘right’ to free speech. It is exercising it.

Comment from John
Time February 21, 2013 at 10:30 am

Protesting against racists is not denying anyone their ‘right’ to free speech. It is exercising it, you uniformed git. And what happens when free speech results in violence against groups withing society. It is no longer free. I suppose you’d support Nazis having the right to free speech too, when their aim is to silence free speech and destroy the left and kill Jews.

Comment from Kay
Time February 21, 2013 at 11:10 am


I fully agree with Greg’s comment.

I doubt that anyone except you would portray Geert Wilders’ comments as inciting violence. He just happens to have a different view from you – and clearly from many others. And you and others have every right to express your disagreement in just as peaceful a way as Wilders does. That is the essence of freedom of speech. And that is all Greg and I are saying! Neither of us is condoning his comments.

You say that inciting violence is the whole point of “his far right agenda”. I see no sign of that. But I might point out that a full-on revolution by the ‘workers’ is your agenda – and that certainly would not be without violence! So the far left agenda does seem to me to be closer to inciting violence. But no one is interfering with your blog. Freedom of speech in play.

Unfortunately, your way of handling anyone with a different view from yourself is almost invariably to just hurl mindless insults.

Comment from Jack Hartyn
Time February 21, 2013 at 12:52 pm

As per usual you have taken the side of ultra left wing fundamentalists against the basic democratic rights of free speech. Wilders had every right to speak freely in this country, yet he was denied that right by this mob of loud mouthed yoboes, no doubt ably supported, well hidden in the background, by religious fundamentalist rabble rousers.
I would firmly state that these same so called “Socialist Alliance” supporters would not be allowed to operate in any Arab Gulf State or even allowed to enter any such similar countr y. Grow Up!!

Comment from John
Time February 21, 2013 at 3:04 pm

I don’t give a fuck what a moron like you thinks Kay. My dog’s poo has more brains in it than your intellectual excrement. If you can’t see Greg Norman’s insult in his comment then you are a bigger idiot than I thought you were, and a supporter of an extreme right winger whom some have described as a fascist.

From Wikipedia In September 2009 Wilders proposed to put a tax on Hijab wearing by Muslim women. He suggested women could purchase a license at a cost of $2000. He believes that all Muslim immigration to the Netherlands should be halted and all settled immigrants should be ‘paid to leave’.

A five-year moratorium on the immigration of non-Western foreigners who intend to stay in the Netherlands. Foreign residents will no longer have the right to vote in municipal elections.

A five-year moratorium on the founding of new mosques and Islamic schools; a permanent ban on preaching in any language other than Dutch. Foreign imams will not be allowed to preach. Radical mosques will be closed and radical Muslims will be expelled.

But no violence there. You stick to your pathetic free speech arguments. This isn’t about free speech. It is about big business beginning to flex its extreme right muscles for when the crisis hits so it can unleash a torrent of racist divisiveness in society and attack workers jobs, living standards and social welfare under the guise of blaming the other – it used to be Jews but is now Muslims – for the problems of capitalism.

Would you give free speech rights to the likes of Hitler? Me, I hope I would have joined the KPD or SPD groups defending unions and left wing political parties and beating up Hitler’s thugs.

Demonstrating against this extreme right winger is about opposing the views of a racist intent on unleashing violence on Muslims. There can be no half way house in this; and given the backward sections of the working class could be attracted to this rubbish, and the declining middle classes definitely will be, we may be seeing the beginning of history repeating.

Comment from John
Time February 21, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Get your facts right you shit. He was not prevented from talking. It’s Socialist Alternative by the way, moron.

Comment from Catching up
Time February 21, 2013 at 4:59 pm

So those who are demonstrating and voicing their views have no right to do so, under many of the commenters version of freedom of free speech.

Yes, he may have the right to speak.

He does not have the right to expect that others may not disagree strongly with him.

Comment from Kay
Time February 22, 2013 at 7:14 am

Catching up

I assume your comments don’t refer to comments by myself and Greg because we said exactly the same thing as you – all are equally entitled to freedom of speech.

Comment from Kay
Time February 22, 2013 at 7:19 am


Selective editing on your part!!!

You are quite happy to allow your own obscene insults to remain on the blog, but as soon as someone points out the hypocrisy of this, you choose not to publish! How cowardly!

Any respect I may have had for you has gone! No doubt this too will not be published. More obscene insults heading my way?

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